No Prep, Seasonal, ENGAGING Math Activities!

This week, I met them all of my students where they were at with  fun, seasonal activities that took zero prep time and hit sorting, patterning, counting to 10 and one-to-one correspondence!

I have these patterning trays from Lakeshore Learning, and I love them because they keep the materials contained and in a line. Patterning on a table or on the floor is fine, but often pieces roll around or get too jumbled together. I have a pattern pocket chart too, but I haven't got that out yet this year. Somehow, adding a tray or pocket chart just makes the activity that much more intriguing for a child!

I try to do my interventions during free choice time. I either make an activity for a specific learning center, or I create an activity at a "play" center. This time, I made the activity specifically for Math Center. I started out by inviting one friend to Math Center. She hadn't yet picked a center and no one was at Math Center yet, so it was perfect. She leapt at the chance to play one-on-one with me and I quickly pulled out my pattern tray and these Autumn Harvest Mini Cut-Outs from Creative Teaching Press.
They are adorable and my little friend was instantly hooked. We quickly sorted them into three piles - pumpkins, leaves and corn. We've been talking about the signs of Fall, and she noticed right away that the cut-outs were of seasonal items/colors, so we had a fun conversation about that as we sorted about 1/2 of the pack - there are 150 pieces in a pack.

Next we I showed her how I made a simple AB pattern. She quickly started her own pattern, and I noticed that she started right to left and from the bottom up. Instantly I know that I need to do more top-bottom, left-right print concept activities with her. I make a quick note to check the rest of my kiddos as we go along to determine if this needs to be a small group intervention for just a few kiddos or if a whole group lesson and activities are needed.
 She was eventually able to successfully create AB and AABB patterns!

The patterning sustained her interest for about 15 minutes, and honestly she would probably have been happy to keep going, but I had another activity I wanted her to try. I pulled out these large Autumn Leaves Cut Outs, also from Creative Teaching Press. This was an almost zero-prep activity. I had taken a Sharpie and write the numbers from 1-10 on some of the yellow leaves - literally about 30 seconds. Then I brought out my bag of mini acrylic pumpkin pieces (a Hobby Lobby find) and she set to work counting them and placing them onto the leaves. She has great 1-1 correspondence, but is wobbly on number recognition after 5.

By this point, it was time to clean up and switch centers. For the next round of centers, as I suspected, there were so many kids wanting to come to Math Center, that some had to be turned away. I limit my groups to 4 kiddos at a time so I can give each one some one on one attention. But don't worry, the others rotated in over the course of the week! The beauty of this center is that I can keep it up and running as long as I need to for everyone to have a turn, and even once I move on, the kiddos can do this themselves after having done it just once with me!

Again we started with the mini cut outs, and no one had any trouble with the sorting. Once we started to use our pattern trays however, I quickly realized that my group was on 3 different levels. I had two that were ready to move on to AABB and ABC patterns, one that could create an AB pattern but had trouble with AABB and one that could complete an AB pattern that I started, but couldn't create his own. Luckily, these materials are so open-ended that I was able to meet all of their needs at the same time!
This sweetie created an AABB pattern and maintained it almost to the very end of the tray!

This kiddo could create an AABB pattern and maintain it for 1 line, but had trouble carrying it over to the next row.

Once each child had filled their tray with patterns a few times, we moved on to the counting activity. Again, they were on different levels with two of them ready for 6-10, while the other two were still working down at 1-5. Not a problem, and I could concentrate on my lower 2 as I just kept an ear turned towards the other two in case they needed help.

Creative Teaching Press sent me these cut outs for free in exchange for trying them out in my classroom and blogging about it. I love using simple, fun, seasonal materials like this to create engaging centers that don't break the bank (all of the cut outs shown in this post are on sale for a steal right now!) The best thing is that the thick paper they are made of stands up well to use in a center - I know we'll be using these again next year and I didn't even have to laminate them!

Hopefully this gives you an idea or two about using decor items in your classroom for other purposes than bulletin boards! Have a great week!

1 Rustle Up A Response!:

Jagger Noas said... Reply to comment

My son attended his school for 3 years. He started in the 2 year old class room and stayed until last year when he was ready for kindergarten. I was pleased with what the Phoenix preschool had to offer.

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